Swans, A Hawk & a Hacksaw, DJ Scary Lady Sarah | Metro | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Swans, A Hawk & a Hacksaw, DJ Scary Lady Sarah 18+ Early Warnings (Music) Member Picks Recommended Soundboard

When: Wed., Oct. 24, 9 p.m. 2012
Price: $26
It's not common for bands who've broken up, gone on hiatus for more than a decade, and then re-formed to surpass their younger selves dramatically the second time around. But if you can listen to all of Swans' new two-hour opus, The Seer (Young God), and not recognize it as their best album ever, you might have your nostalgia goggles on too tight. Previous incarnations made some pretty dramatic turns back in the day, but the shifts from pounding brutality to gothic romanticism to unsettled electronica to grimdark folk-rock don't seem so abrupt anymore: this is the work of a band that has learned to integrate absolutely everything it's capable of into one album. It's no wonder it lasts so long—Swans contain multitudes. Front man Michael Gira, the only constant member, is joined once again by Norman Westberg (who came aboard for 1983's hair-raising Filth), percussionists Thor Harris and Phil Puleo, steel guitarist Christoph Hahn, and bassist Christopher Pravdica, plus a brilliant cast of guest musicians that includes Karen O, Bill Rieflin, Low's Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, Chicago's Bruce Lamont, and former Swans vocalist and keyboardist Jarboe (a welcome sign of some sort of reconciliation there). Together they will into being a monster of a soundscape that doesn't so much follow up 2010's My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky as surround and consume it, like a vast caldera full of sentient lava. Which is also fair description of what they do to their audiences live. —Monica Kendrick A Hawk & a Hacksaw and DJ Scary Lady Sarah open.

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